“Federal budget figures are not reliable”

Belgium’s court of audit says that the federal government’s budget figures can’t be trusted because the quality of the accounts of federal government departments isn’t good enough.  The court argues that the poor quality of budgetary figures is tarnishing our credibility in Europe.

Starting 2020 the court of audit will have the job of certifying the accounts of Belgium’s federal state.  President Hilde François says that if the same procedure had to be used in 2018 – the year under scrutiny – then the court would have to reject the accounts or at least voice an abstention as the quality of the accounts deteriorated compared to 2017.

The court objects to the way in which fiscal receipts are being booked.  It also criticises a lack in central management by the Federal Accountant, the government body that supervises other departments when they do their accounts and that makes the final calculations.

Hilde François argues that the poor quality of federal accounts has an important impact on the drafting of the budget. “If the accounts aren’t reliable, this affects the policy that the government can pursue in a negative way.”

In turn in the eyes of the EU this tarnishes the credibility of the whole operation.